Lesson Plans on Density for Middle School Teachers

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Lesson Plans on Density for Middle School Teachers
bu Cory Patterson, Teresa Kennedy and Tiffany Miller
Miller/Kennedy/Patterson
TIES Module – Density
Expanding science and engineering to new horizons
Table of Contents:
Meet the Teachers
Page 2
Module Overview Essential Questions, State standards
Page 3-8
Lesson 1 Intro to Mass and Volume by Tiffany Miller
Masses of Objects Data Collection sheet
Page 9-12
Page 13
Lesson 2 The Nitty Gritty of Density by Teresa Kennedy
Density Station Data Sheet
Liquid Layers Lab Sheet
Page 14-16
Page 17
Page 18
Lesson 3 Wet goes up, must come down by Cory Patterson
Wet goes up must come down lab data sheet
Page 19-21
Page 22
Lesson 4 Density is in the Air by Tiffany, Teresa and Cory
Lamp Flowchart
Broken Appliance Flowchart
Balloon Simulation Flowchart
Engineering Process Report
Page 23-26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29
Page 30-31
Appendix:
Assessment Instruments for Data Collection
Assessment Instruments for Data Collection Answer Key
Interview Protocol
Appendix 1: Explanation of the Simulation
Volume Quiz Show Slide Printouts
Pages 32-34
Pages 35-37
Page 38
Page 39-40
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Miller/Kennedy/Patterson
TIES Module – Density
Meet the Teachers
• Cory Patterson is a teacher at Monaco Middle
School in Las Vegas. He teaches 7th grade Earth
Science. He will be teaching in Cairo, Egypt for
the 2004-2006 school years.
• Teresa Kennedy is a teacher at Our Lady of the
Snows Catholic School in Reno, Nevada. She
teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade science. She is
also a geologist and enjoys studying earth
science in her free time!
• Tiffany Miller teaches 7th and 8th grade science
at O’Brien Middle School in Reno, Nevada.
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TIES Module – Density
Module Overview
Topic: Manifest Density
As a result of this unit, students will understand:
• Density is defined by the ratio of the mass of a substance to its volume.
• For an object to float, relative to its surroundings, it must be less dense than its
surroundings.
• Density is a principle that is found in many of Earth’s processes, including the water
cycle.
• Density affects the workings of hot air balloons.
Essential Questions that focus this unit are:
• What is density?
• What is mass?
• What is volume?
• Can density be measured?
• Why do some objects float or sink relative to other objects?
• What role does density play in the water cycle?
• Can we make a balloon that floats in air?
Assessment
Performance Tasks:
• Students will create a miniature hot-air balloon that floats using their knowledge
of density, volume and mass.
• Students will design a replicable model showing density at work in the water
cycle
Quizzes, Tests, Academic Prompts
• Students will be quizzed on their understanding of volume using a PowerPoint
presentation
• Students will use their knowledge of mass and volume to write a letter to a
company explaining these scientific concepts.
Other Evidence
• Students will record data and fill in lab sheets on day 1 and day 2.
• Student will complete a flow chart to show their testing data from a computer
simulation.
Student Self-Assessment
• Students will write a review of their balloon building experience and describe
how mass, density and volume affected their models. They will evaluate their own
learning and progress throughout the unit.
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TIES Module – Density
Key elements students will need to know:
• Definitions of density, mass and volume.
• SI Units.
• Variable management.
• Density is measurable.
• Real-world examples of density working all around us.
• A working knowledge of density in order to meet the challenge of constructing a working
hot air balloon for their culminating task/project.
Key skills students will need to be able to do:
• Take measurements (mass and volume) in determining the density of selected objects.
• Comfortably use density-related terminology.
• Scientific reasoning and problem solving.
• Describe scientific concepts in writing.
• Calculate the densities of objects.
• Construct and use graphs in presenting data.
• Use higher-order thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
• Working cooperatively.
• Manipulate variables toward desired outcomes.
• Successfully navigate applet program.
• Apply the knowledge and skills learned from the density unit in creating working hot air
balloon.
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TIES Module – Density
Teaching and Learning Experiences
Mapped to State Standards:
Lesson One – Into
Science
to Mass and Volume
1.6.4
Investigate and describe the
relationship between the mass and
the volume of various objects.
22.8.2 Organize information in tables and
graphs and describe the
relationships they reveal.
23.8.1 Explain that quantities can vary in
proportion to one another. (e.g., the
ratio of mass to volume in the
calculation of density).
23.8.4 Select and use the appropriate SI
unit for a particular measurement
(e.g., meters for length, seconds for
time, and kilograms for mass).
23.8.5 Make predictions based on all
known data from similar conditions.
24.8.1 Use instruments and laboratory
safety equipment properly.
24.8.4 Use appropriate technology in
laboratory procedures for
measuring, recording, and
analyzing data (e.g., computers,
graphing calculators and probes).
24.8.6 Design a controlled experiment.
24.8.8 Keep an organized record of
scientific investigations.
Math
3.7.1
5
Estimate and convert, units of
measure for mass, and volume
within the same measurement
system; compare corresponding
units of the two systems.
Miller/Kennedy/Patterson
TIES Module – Density
Lesson Two – The
Nitty gritty of
density
Science
1.7.4
Investigate and describe the density
of solids, liquids, and gases.
23.8.1 Explain that quantities can vary in
proportion to one another. (e.g., the
ratio of mass to volume in the
calculation of density).
22.8.3 Organize information in tables and
graphs and describe the
relationships they reveal.
23.8.6 Make predictions based on all
known data from similar conditions.
24.8.1 Use instruments and laboratory
safety equipment properly.
24.8.4 Use appropriate technology in
laboratory procedures for
measuring, recording, and
analyzing data (e.g., computers,
graphing calculators, and probes).
24.8.5 Keep an organized record of
scientific investigations.
24.8.6 Design a controlled experiment.
Lesson Three- Wet
comes up, must
come down
Science
1.6.4
Investigate and describe the
relationship between the mass and
the volume of various objects.
1.7.4
Investigate and describe the density
of solids, liquids, and gases.
20.8.3 Identify and illustrate natural cycles
within systems (e.g., water,
planetary motion, climate,
geological changes).
23.8.1 Explain that quantities can vary in
proportion to one another. (e.g., the
ratio of mass to volume in the
calculation of density).
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TIES Module – Density
23.8.7 Make predictions based on all
known data from similar conditions.
24.8.1 Use instruments and laboratory
safety equipment properly.
24.8.5 Keep an organized record of
scientific investigations.
24.8.6 Design a controlled experiment.
24.8.8 Use appropriate technology in
laboratory procedures for
measuring, recording, and
analyzing data (e.g., computers,
graphing calculators, and probes).
Lesson Four –
Density is in the air
Science
1.6.4
Investigate and describe the
relationship between the mass and
the volume of various objects.
1.7.5
Investigate and describe the density
of solids, liquids, and gases.
23.8.1 Explain that quantities can vary in
proportion to one another. (e.g., the
ratio of mass to volume in the
calculation of density).
23.8.2 Investigate and describe the
relationship between the mass and
the volume of various objects.
23.8.8 Select and use the appropriate SI
unit for a particular measurement
(e.g., meters for length, seconds for
time, and kilograms for mass).
23.8.9 Make predictions based on all
known data from similar conditions.
22.8.4 Organize information in tables and
graphs and describe the
relationships they reveal.
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TIES Module – Density
24.8.5 Keep an organized record of
scientific investigations.
24.8.6 Design a controlled experiment.
24.8.8 Use appropriate technology in
laboratory procedures for
measuring, recording, and
analyzing data (e.g., computers,
graphing calculators, and probes).
24.8.9 Use instruments and laboratory
safety equipment properly.
Math
3.7.1
.
3.7.2
3.8.3
8
Estimate and convert units of
measure for mass, and volume
within the same measurement
system; compare corresponding
units of the two systems.
Estimate, measure to the required
degree of accuracy, derive, and
apply standard formulas to find the
volume and surface area of solid
figures (e.g., cylinders, triangular
solids).
Select and apply appropriate
formulas to solve problems;
identify the relationship between
changes in area and volume and
changes in linear measures of
figures.
Miller/Kennedy/Patterson
TIES Module – Density
Manifest Density – Lesson Plans
Lesson 1: Intro to Mass and Volume
Lesson Goal: The purpose of this lesson series is to introduce students to the concepts of
density, mass and volume and prepare them to complete a performance task in which they must
use their knowledge of these concepts.
Concepts to be developed:
1.
Density is the measurement of the compactness of an object.
2.
Density is a property that is determined by the ratio of a substance’s mass to its
volume.
3.
Mass is how much matter is inside of an object.
4.
Volume is how much space something takes up.
Skills to be developed:
1. Students will use a balance to measure mass.
2. Students will describe a scientific concept in writing using their own words.
3. Students will use logic and scientific guessing to find objects of the same mass.
Objectives:
1. Students will describe the concepts of mass and volume in a letter.
2. Students will calculate the mass of objects using a balance.
3. Students will use scientific reasoning to find two objects with identical masses.
4. Students will measure and record objects that have identical masses, but different
volumes.
5. Students will observe objects that have identical volumes, but different masses.
Materials:
For class demonstrations:
• Four large brown paper bags
• Materials of different densities to fill paper bags (such as Styrofoam, cotton,
shredded tissue paper, container with rocks, cans of paint, heavy metal objects,
etc.)
• Aquarium or other clear container filled with water
• Large piece of pumice
For each group of students:
• Small acrylic, wood, and Styrofoam squares, each with the same dimensions
• Balance or scale
• 1 regular soda and 1 diet soda
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Safety Procedures: none
Procedure
Activity One:
Foundation:
1. Before the lesson, fill two large brown paper bags with light-weight materials, such
as Styrofoam, cotton, shredded tissue paper, etc. Fill two large brown paper bags
with heavy-weight materials, such as container filled with rocks, cans of paint,
heavy metal objects, etc. Close the bags and number each bag. Make the exterior of
the bags look the same.
2. As students enter the room have an aquarium filled with water and a large piece of
pumice floating in it. Ask students to explain in writing why this particular rock
floats and other rocks sink. Explain that by the end of the lesson, they will be able
to explain why this rock floats, using the terms mass, volume, and density.
3. Place the four bags next to each other on a table. Ask the students if they can tell
anything about how heavy each bag is by mere observation. Ask them to predict the
relative weights of the four bags. Next, have one member of each group come up
and pick up each of the bags and arrange the bags in descending order of mass.
Discuss with students the fact that although the bags looked very similar and
seemed to occupy the same amount of space (volume), they had different masses.
Explain that volume is how much space something takes up.
4. To further demonstrate the concept of volume show the PowerPoint Volume Quiz
Show.
Activity 2
Simulation:
5. Hold up two cans of soda, one diet and one regular. Ask students if they weigh the
same and how they know. (Check for understanding: If students say they weigh the
same because they’re the same size, remind them of what they learned in activity
one.)
6. Give students a balance and two sodas for each group (diet and regular). Let them
measure the mass of each. Discuss with students that the cans have the same
volume, but the mass of each is different. Let them share their ideas about why the
masses are different. (Note to teachers: Students may focus on the difference in
ingredients between the two sodas without relating it to the mass of the sodas. Be
sure to focus students on the concepts of mass, volume, and density before giving
the following assignment.)
7. When students are finished present them with the following scenario:
The Coca-Cola Company has been getting angry letters from drinkers of Diet
Coke. Because their soda weighs less they feel like they’re getting ripped off.
If they pay the same amount for a diet coke it should have the same amount of
soda in it. It is your job as manager of customer relations to answer these
angry letters. For homework write a sample letter to be approved by the
company president that contains the following: A scientific explanation of
why the Diet Coke weighs less, and a sentence or two addressing the
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TIES Module – Density
customer’s concerns that they are getting less soda than in a regular can or
bottle. Then, write a memo to the president of the company in which you
outline at least one solution the company can do to fix this problem and make
customers happy. Remember – your next promotion depends on how well you
solve problems for the company!
Activity 3
8. Students should now know that objects can have the same volume but different
masses. Now students will explore objects that have identical masses but different
volumes. Challenge each group to find two different objects in the room with the
same masses. They can not be two identical items. Students should record their
trials in their science journals or on the data sheet provided.
9. Once each group is finished allow them to present their findings and discuss the
rational for the items that they tried using the information from their data sheet.
10. Discuss with the class that some items have the same masses, but take up more or
less space (volume.) Some items take up the same amount of space (volume) but
have more or less mass. We have come up with a way to talk about the relationship
between these two measurements (mass and volume) and we call it density.
Activity 4:
11. Give students the 3 cubes of different materials. Have them put them predict the
order of density, greatest to smallest and record their predictions. Tell them that
tomorrow they will be able to calculate the density and check their answers.
Evaluation:
1. Students will be evaluated on the Volume Quiz Show scores, the data recorded for their
mass measurements and the rationale presented in their group for choosing objects of the
same mass.
2. Student understanding of mass and volume will be evaluated using their letters to the
Coca-Cola Company.
Attachments:
Mass of Objects Data Collection sheet
Printout of Volume Quiz Show slides
Differentiated Instruction techniques:
• Clearly state essential questions
• Continuous assessment and feedback
• Adjust content, process, and product in response to student readiness and learning
profiles
ƒ Shortened and modified assignments
ƒ Time extensions allowed
ƒ Use of resource room
ƒ Notes and/or extra time allowed on tests
• Students and teachers collaborate in learning
• Goals for maximum growth and individual success are established and maintained
• Student ability grouping strategies are used in cooperative learning activities
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TIES Module – Density
•
•
Stations are used in allowing for different students to work on different tasks
Tiered activities are used to focus on essential understandings and skills at different
levels of complexity, abstractness and open-endedness
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TIES Module – Density
Name __________________________ Date _________ Per. _____
Masses of Objects Data Collection Sheet
Object:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
Mass (gms):
13
Observations:
Miller/Kennedy/Patterson
TIES Module – Density
Lesson 2: The Nitty Gritty of Density
Lesson Goal: The purpose of this lesson is to apply the concept of density to liquids and to
prepare them to complete a performance task related to their learning at the end of the unit.
Concepts to be developed:
1. Density is a property that can be measured.
2. Density is a property that is determined by the ratio of a substance’s mass to its volume.
Skills to be developed:
1. Students will use a graduated cylinder to measure volume of a liquid.
2. Students will use a balance to measure mass.
3. Students will divide mass by volume to determine density of liquids.
4. Students will present data as graph comparing densities of studied items.
Objectives:
1. Students will calculate the density of a solid.
2. Students will use the displacement method in a graduated cylinder or beaker to
measure volume of a solid.
3. Students will describe the relationship in words or pictures between solids of similar
size but different mass.
4. Students will describe in words or pictures the apparent relationship between liquids
of different densities in the same container.
5. Students will calculate the densities of those liquids.
Materials:
For Class Demonstration:
• Bottle of Italian salad dressing, ping pong ball, bouncy ball, pool ball for lesson
intro, (playground ball, volleyball, basketball, balloon optional)
• Three cubes from Lesson One, metric rulers, calculators
For each group of students:
• 100 ml graduated cylinder
• Clear plastic cup
• Sharpie marker
• Balance or scale
5-6 stations, each with a different liquid: Isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, water, soda,
Epson salt solution, kosher salt solution, sugar solution. Use food coloring, if desired, to
make the density differences more visual. Note to teacher: Be sure to try your own test
of this simulation to get the correct density numbers using your lab equipment. The
number of stations can be adjusted depending on the size of the class and number of
stations desired.
Safety Procedures: Students should be instructed not to taste any of the liquids.
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Procedure:
Foundation:
1. Ask students to share predictions about relative densities of cubes from last lesson.
Instruct students to weigh each cube in grams using the scale. Then instruct each student
to measure the dimensions of their cubes to the nearest cm. True cubes should be the
same in all directions. Ask students to multiply the three numbers together to find the
volume of their cubes in cubic cm. Then ask students to divide the mass of the cube by
its volume to determine its density in grams per cubic centimeter. Have students record
in their journal the densities of each cube and if their prediction as to the relative order of
densities was correct.
2. After students have calculating the density of their cubes using the method in (1), they
may determine the volume by observing how much water is displaced (how much the
water level rises) when the cube is placed in a graduated cylinder or beaker. Use that
volume number to calculate the density using the “displacement method”.
3. Pass around balls of similar size but different mass. Ask for class comparisons or
observations about the similarities and differences of the items. Prompt for correct usage
of vocabulary developed in previous lesson. Ask students the difference between mass
and weight. Review definition of mass as the amount of stuff in an object and introduce
idea of weight as related to the pull of gravity. The gravity of the moon is 1/6 that of
earth so an object will weigh 1/6 of its amount on the moon but its mass always stays the
same.
4. Review the concept of determining volume by displacement of water with all students.
Ask students how measuring the density of a solid in grams per cubic centimeter could be
the same as determining the density of that same solid by how many milliliters of water it
displaced. Prompt students to discover that the volume of 1 cubic centimeter is the same
as 1 milliliter so those two measurements can be used interchangeably for density
calculations.
Simulation:
5. Display unshaken bottle of Italian salad dressing or homemade concoction of fluids with
different densities. Ask for observations about why the fluids are in different layers.
Discuss immiscibility (oil and water don’t mix) and guide students toward observation
that fluids are in layers because one is more or less dense than another, meaning that the
ratio of its mass to volume is different.
6. Shake the bottle. Draw or describe the settling process. “The fluids settled back into
layers because the densities of the liquids are not the same. The one at the top is less
dense than those below it. The density of the bottom layer is greater.”
Construction:
1. Preparation: Each group should measure 100 ml of water in a graduated cylinder. Place
an empty plastic cup on the balance and zero the balance to the weight of the cup. Pour
the water into the plastic cup and check the mass of the water. Since the density of water
is 1 gm/ml, the weight of the water should be 100 grams. Students should use this
relationship to practice their accuracy at filling the graduated cylinder to 100 ml.
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TIES Module – Density
2. At each station, measure 100 ml of the liquid to be measured. Pour into empty plastic
cup on balance that has been zeroed for the weight of the cup. Record the mass of the
liquid on the data sheet. Rinse cup and dry.
3. Repeat procedure at each liquid station.
4. Divide mass of liquid by 100, because the volume of liquid was 100 ml, to determine the
density of each liquid in grams per ml.
5. Plot densities of each liquid on a bar graph.
6. If supporting technology is available, classroom computers with spreadsheet programs
could be used for data entry and graphing.
Connection:
7. In journal or notebook, predict the order into which the liquids would settle if they were
all added to a clear bottle. Draw or describe the order.
8. If liquids have been colored with food coloring, add 10 ml of each liquid to a soda bottle
and observe the results.
Evaluation:
1. Given the mass and volume of an unknown liquid, calculate its density.
2. Given a liquid of a certain density, where would it settle in the bottle?
3. Pure water has a density of 1 gm/ml. Salt water has a greater density of ___ gm/ml. (Use
the numbers calculated earlier in this lesson.) Why is it easier to float in salt water than
in fresh water?
4. Why did the pumice in Lesson 1 float?
Differentiated Instruction techniques:
• Clearly state essential questions
• Continuous assessment and feedback
• Adjust content, process, and product in response to student readiness and learning
profiles
ƒ Shortened and modified assignments
ƒ Time extensions allowed
ƒ Use of resource room
ƒ Notes and/or extra time allowed on tests
• Students and teachers collaborate in learning
• Goals for maximum growth and individual success are established and maintained
• Student ability grouping strategies are used in cooperative learning activities
• Stations are used in allowing for different students to work on different tasks
• Tiered activities are used to focus on essential understandings and skills at different
levels of complexity, abstractness and open-endedness
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Name __________________________ Date _________ Per. _____
Station 1:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
gms/ml
Station 2:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
gms/ml
Station 3:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
gms/ml
Station 4:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
gms/ml
Station 5:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
gms/ml
Station 6:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
gms/ml
Station 7:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
gms/ml
Station 8:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
gms/ml
Station 9:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
gms/ml
Station 10:
Mass of 100 ml.
Mass/100 =
17
gms/ml
Miller/Kennedy/Patterson
TIES Module – Density
Name __________________________ Date _________ Per. _____
Liquid Layers
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Lesson 3: Wet goes up, must come down
Lesson Goal: The purpose of this lesson series is to introduce students to the concept of density,
as it applies to the water cycle and for the students to complete a performance task in which they
will show density’s role in the water cycle.
Concepts to be developed:
1. Density is a principle that is found in many of Earth’s processes, including the water
cycle.
2. Water vapor is less dense than the surrounding air and therefore rises, allowing water
to be recycled.
3. Water droplets that collect in clouds are denser then the surrounding air and therefore
fall as precipitation.
Skills to be developed:
1. Students will describe how density plays a role in the water cycle.
2. Students will continue to develop and refine their skills in the scientific process.
3. Students will continue to develop and refine cooperative working skills in a
laboratory environment.
Objectives:
1. Students will describe in writing how density plays a role in the water cycle.
2. Students will list and define the steps of the water cycle.
3. Students will design a replicable model showing density at work in the water cycle.
Materials:
For each student:
• A sheet of computer paper, colored pencils
For each group of students:
• Waterproof plastic container, cellophane wrap, ice cubes, water, rocks and/or sand,
heat lamp and bulb.
• Lab handout (see attached)
Safety Procedures: Warn students not to burn themselves on the heat lamp.
Procedure
Foundation:
1. Review what is now known about density.
• Density is a measurement of the compactness of an object.
• Density is a property that is determined by the ratio of a substance’s mass to its
volume.
• Less dense objects will rise above objects with a greater density.
• Denser objects will fall below objects with less density.
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2. Introduce and discuss the water cycle.
• The water cycle is a process that allows water to be recycled over and over
again.
• There are three main parts to the water cycle:
ƒ Evaporation—the process in which water is heated, therefore changing
states from liquid to gas, called water vapor. (Like steam from a pot of
boiling water, or the steam that makes your bathroom mirror cloudy
when you take a hot shower.)
ƒ Condensation—the process in which water vapor is cooled, changing its
state from a gas back to a liquid. (Like when water vapor is cooled off
from touching the cooler bathroom mirror resulting in water dripping
down it.) These tiny water droplets then cling to dust particles in the air,
forming clouds.
ƒ Precipitation—occurs when clouds accumulate enough water that the
water droplets become denser then the surrounding air and fall as rain.
Simulation:
• Have the students draw a model of the water cycle, illustrating, labeling and
explaining evaporation, condensation, precipitation and the different densities
of water vapor and water.
Construction:
• Explain to students that their task will be to make a working model of the water
cycle and to explain how it works.
• Show students the materials and brainstorm as a class how those materials can
be used in constructing a working, replicable model of the water cycle.
• Distribute and explain lab handout (attached).
• Go over safety procedures.
• Place students in cooperative groups and allow them to begin their task.
Connection:
• Have students share their results with the class, being sure to explain how the
water cycle works.
Evaluation:
Students will be evaluated on their lab handouts (to be placed in their science notebooks)
and on the sharing of their results with the whole class.
Attachments
Lab handout
Differentiated Instruction techniques:
• Clearly state essential questions
• Continuous assessment and feedback
• Adjust content, process, and product in response to student readiness and learning
profiles
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TIES Module – Density
•
•
•
•
•
ƒ Shortened and modified assignments
ƒ Time extensions allowed
ƒ Use of resource room
ƒ Notes and/or extra time allowed on tests
Students and teachers collaborate in learning
Goals for maximum growth and individual success are established and maintained
Student ability grouping strategies are used in cooperative learning activities
Stations are used in allowing for different students to work on different tasks
Tiered activities are used to focus on essential understandings and skills at different
levels of complexity, abstractness and open-endedness
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Name __________________________ Date _________ Per. _____
Wet goes up must come down!
Question: Where are differences in the density of water visible within the water cycle?
Model: List the details of your model.
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Observations: Draw a picture of your working model in the box below. Label the three ways
water moves within the water cycle.
Now describe what you see.
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Conclusion: Where can you observe the property of density differences in water within
the water cycle?
Describe what you now know.
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
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Lesson 4: Density is in the Air
Lesson Goal: The purpose of this lesson is to challenge students to apply their knowledge of
mass, volume, and density and use the information from a computer simulation to design a hot
air balloon that will float.
Concepts to be developed:
1. Density is the measurement of the compactness of an object.
2. If an object is less dense than the material around it, it will float.
3. A hot air balloon floats because the components of its design make it less dense
than the air around it and it floats because of that density difference.
Skills to be developed:
1. Students will interpret the density of objects compared to air.
2. Students will manipulate variables related to mass and volume.
3. Students will use a flow chart to document their problem-solving strategies.
4. Students will use problem-solving.
Objectives:
1. Students will investigate the variables affecting the volume and mass of a hot-air
balloon.
2. Students will use information gained from investigating variables of mass and
volume to build a hot-air balloon that floats.
3. Students will complete a flowchart documenting how they determined a
satisfactory design using the simulation.
4. Students will work cooperatively in groups to solve a scientific problem.
Materials:
•
•
One helium balloon
One electrical or battery-operated appliance: lamp, CD player,
For Each Group:
• Materials for building balloons to match those used in computer simulation:
tissue paper, garbage bags, newsprint/Ziploc bags, newspaper
• Patterns for three sizes of 3–dimensional objects (sphere, rectangular prisms,
and pyramid) to match the size and shape of the options available in the
computer simulation.
• Sterno can
• Various building tools: Tape of various kinds, scissors, rulers, glue, etc.
• One sticky note per student
Safety Procedures: Students will be cutting materials with scissors. Balloons will be launched
outside using sterno cans. Close adult supervision is required at all times.
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Procedure
Foundation:
1. Release the helium balloon in front of the students. Ask them why it floats on the
ceiling (because it is less dense than air, the gas helium is less dense than the
mixture of gases that make up the air in our classroom). Ask students how a balloon
floating is different than an airplane flying. (A balloon “floats” because the heat
source makes the air inside the balloon less dense so the balloon can float up
through it while an airplane flies because its design and the lift of its engines make
it aerodynamic) Tell students that they will be building a balloon that will also be
less dense than air. Ask students what variables can affect the density of a hot-air
balloon (mass and volume).
2. Give each student a sticky note and have them think of a specific part of
constructing a hot air balloon that would relate to the mass or volume of that
balloon. Example: how heavy the basket is, how many people it would carry, how
big the balloon is, what shape it is. List the headings Mass and Volume on the
board. Have students put their ideas on the board under the appropriate column. If
the fact that air density changes with elevation has not been discussed make sure
that it is included as a variable under volume.
3. Discuss the variables as a class and move sticky notes around as necessary to
reinforce the concepts of mass and volume. Remind students that in order for
something to float above something else, it must be less dense than the object it
floats. Tell students that to simplify the building process and increase the chances
of success they will only have a few variables to work with.
4. Ask students how engineers build a bridge or a building. Through discussion, have
students understand that first a design of the bridge or building is made when the
need for the bridge/building is determined, then the design and materials for the
bridge/building are tested, and then the bridge/building is actually constructed.
Engineers do not just make things from scratch, so neither will they. To make sure
that they don’t build a balloon that doesn’t fly there is a simulation program they
can work with first. This will be like an engineer’s test phase.
Simulation:
1. Show students the selected appliance. Inform students that you have discovered that
it does not work and ask students what you should do to find out why. Guide
students toward answers that suggest testing some aspect of how it works, not just
why it does not work. After soliciting lots of suggestions, decide on one aspect to
test first. Show students the flowchart diagram, either on the board or on an
overhead, and put the first question in first box.
2. Return to the list of mass and volume variables that has been generated by the class
and remove each one that is controlled by the simulation. Review with students
that the heat source, the amount of heat added, the weight of the basket and
passengers, and any wind or weather factors are assumed to be constant by the
simulation. Review with students that the simulation will prompt the user for the
local elevation in meters which will be used to determine the target air density.
Review with students that they will be able to experiment with four different
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shapes, sizes, and materials for construction of a balloon and have them talk about
how varying each one might affect the ability of their balloon to float.
3. Allow students, working in groups of 3-4, to access the java applet on their
computers (or demonstrate on one classroom computer.) Let students work through
the program trying the different variables. When they find a combination of
variables that work in simulation, allow them to print their results. They now have a
description of what to build. Students should record their design process to
determine a successful design on the provided sheet.
4. The calculations, formulas, and constants used by the simulation are included as
Appendix 1. If teachers will be having their students construct balloons using the
same dimensions as the simulation, they may wish to prepare templates for the
students to trace.
Construction:
1. When students have identified their final design, they should gather their materials
and begin building. They should be working in their design groups which are now
the test groups. The building should take 1-2 class periods.
2. When all groups are finished take the students outside for Launch Day. Discuss the
density of air (this was calculated in the java applet). Ask to students what the
density of air inside their balloons must be in order for them to fly. Light the sterno
cans for groups one at a time. The balloons should be able to fly. Teachers may
wish to choose a different heat source to better suit the needs of the class and the
location of the flights. The risk of fires started by a floating, flaming tissue paper
balloon should be adequately assessed by each teacher for their individual situation!
Perhaps some teachers would like to experiment with balloons constructed only
from flame retardant materials!
3. After the flights have students complete the testing portion of their Engineering
Process Report worksheet.
Evaluation:
1. Students will be evaluated on the completion of the java applet simulation and of
the flowchart showing how the variables were tested.
2. Students will be evaluated on their problem solving skills and group cooperation
during the building process by self-reflection and teacher observation.
3. Students will be evaluated on their analysis of success of their balloon flight and of
their understanding of the design, test, and construct process on the Engineering
Process Form.
4. Students will be evaluated on their self-evaluation of their learning using the
simulation and construction process and how this process is used by engineers.
Extension:
1. The simulation/construction process utilized in this lesson has students constructing
their balloons from a pre-determined size with pre-determined materials. Students
do not need to calculate either the volume of the balloon shape or the mass of the
materials and enclosed air in order to make a density determination.
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2. A possible extension would be to have students truly design their own balloon
shape, using the simulation values as parameters for success, and present the
calculations to determine whether or not the balloon should fly before testing.
Differentiated Instruction techniques:
• Clearly state essential questions
• Continuous assessment and feedback
• Adjust content, process, and product in response to student readiness and learning
profiles
ƒ Shortened and modified assignments
ƒ Time extensions allowed
ƒ Use of resource room
ƒ Notes and/or extra time allowed on tests
• Students and teachers collaborate in learning
• Goals for maximum growth and individual success are established and maintained
• Student ability grouping strategies are used in cooperative learning activities
• Stations are used in allowing for different students to work on different tasks
• Tiered activities are used to focus on essential understandings and skills at different
levels of complexity, abstractness and open-endedness
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Name __________________________ Date _________ Per. _____
Broken Item Flow
Charts
Lamp works!
Success!
This thing doesn’t work!
Lamp is plugged in or has batteries?
Lamp is turned on?
Lamp has lightbulb?
All connections are tight?
Lamp works in a different outlet?
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Name __________________________ Date _________ Per. _____
Appliance Flow Chart
Appliance works
Success!
This thing doesn’t work!
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Name __________________________ Date _________ Per. _____
Balloon Flow
Chart
Balloon floats!
Success!
This thing doesn’t float!
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Engineering Process Report:
Balloon Design:
Based on your results from the computer simulation, what designs of balloon do you think
will be successful? Circle your choices.
Sphere
Rectangular Prism
Pyramid
S
M
L
XL
Tissue Paper
Garbage Bag
Newsprint
Newspaper
Explain in terms of density why you think this design will be successful?
Test Results:
Did your balloon successfully float?
What are some variables in the construction process that might have affected the success of
your balloon test?
If your balloon did not float, what could you do to find out why it didn’t float?
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If your balloon did fly, what one variable would you like to change to see if it would still
float?
Analysis:
What did you learn about the design, test, and construct processes of engineering from
doing this unit? How would you have made a hot air balloon if you had not had the
simulation to help you? How will you be a better engineer because of this experience?
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Assessment Instruments for Data Collection:
Choose the best answer:
1. The mathematical formula to use when calculating the density of an object is:
a) volume divided by mass
b) mass times volume
c) mass plus volume
d) mass divided by volume
2. Which of the following statements is true about a bottle containing liquids that appear to
be stacked?
a) the liquid at the top is the most dense
b) the liquid at the top is the least dense
c) the liquid have the same volume
d) the liquids have the same density
3. Which of the following is not a part of the water cycle?
a) Condensation
b) Evaporation
c) Decomposition
d) Precipitation
4. The density of water is 1 gm/ml. An object has a mass of 58 grams. What volume must
it have in order to float in water?
a) 45 ml
b) 50 ml
c) 55 ml
d) 60 ml
5. Within the water cycle, water vapor rises back into the atmosphere because
a) the water vapor is less dense than the surrounding air
b) the water vapor is denser than the surrounding air.
c) the water vapor is the same density as the surrounding air.
d) the water vapor is decomposed in a chemical reaction.
6. Your friends at your lunch table all have different stuff in their lunch. Liquid A has a
density of 1.07 gms/ml, Liquid B has a density of 0.98 gms/ml, Solid C has a density of 1.12
gms/cc, and Mush D has a density of 1 gm/cc. You decide to make a gross combination of
the four in your water bottle. Which order will they appear in, from bottom to top?
a) Solid C, Mush D, Liquid A, and Liquid B on top?
b) Solid C, Mush D, Liquid B, and Liquid A on top?
c) Solid C, Liquid A, Mush D, and Liquid B on top?
c) Liquid A, Liquid B, Solid C, and Mush D on top?
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Mark each statement as True or False
1. _____ The liquids with the highest density floated at the top of the bottle.
2. _____ The correct metric unit for density of a liquid is grams/milliliter.
3. _____ The weight of an object and its mass are always the same.
4. _____ The air pressure at higher elevation is the same as the air at sea level.
5. _____ When designing a hot air balloon, the mass of the balloon must also include the
weight of the air inside the balloon.
6. _____ The densities of pure water, salt water and sugar water are always the same.
Answer each question using complete sentences.
1. Describe two ways to calculate the density of an object.
2. Explain why the liquids in a salad dressing bottle settled back into the same order after
they were shaken up.
3. Give an example of three objects that are close to the same size but very different in
density.
4. Explain how the property of density allows water to be recycled through the water cycle.
5. Explain why pumice floats while a rock of similar size will sink in the same tank of
water.
6. Explain why it is easier for a person to float while swimming in the Great Salt Lake than
it is at Lake Tahoe.
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Scenario: Your class is placed in charge of designing a hot air balloon to fly in the Balloon
Races next fall. List, draw, or describe all of the things you would have to take into
consideration. What information would you need to collect about what materials to use,
what shape the balloon should be, and how big it could be? What other factors would you
want to get more information about?
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Miller/Kennedy/Patterson
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Assessment Instruments for Data Collection:
Choose the best answer:
1. The mathematical formula to use when calculating the density of an object is:
e) volume divided by mass
f) mass times volume
g) mass plus volume
d) mass divided by volume
2. Which of the following statements is true about a bottle containing liquids that appear to be
stacked?
e) the liquid at the top is the most dense
f) the liquid at the top is the least dense
g) the liquid have the same volume
h) the liquids have the same density
3. Which of the following is not a part of the water cycle?
e) Condensation
f) Evaporation
g) Decomposition
h) Precipitation
4. The density of water is 1 gm/ml. An object has a mass of 58 grams. What volume must it
have in order to float in water?
e) 45 ml
f) 50 ml
g) 55 ml
h) 60 ml
5. Within the water cycle, water vapor rises back into the atmosphere because
e) the water vapor is less dense than the surrounding air
f) the water vapor is more dense than the surrounding air.
g) the water vapor is the same density as the surrounding air.
h) the water vapor is decomposed in a chemical reaction.
6. Your friends at your lunch table all have different stuff in their lunch. Liquid A has a density
of 1.07 gms/ml, Liquid B has a density of 0.98 gms/ml, Solid C has a density of 1.12 gms/cc, and
Mush D has a density of 1 gm/cc. You decide to make a gross combination of the four in your
water bottle. Which order will they appear in, from bottom to top?
a) Solid C, Mush D, Liquid A, and Liquid B on top?
b) Solid C, Mush D, Liquid B, and Liquid A on top?
c) Solid C, Liquid A, Mush D, and Liquid B on top?
c) Liquid A, Liquid B, Solid C, and Mush D on top?
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Mark each statement as True or False
7. _____ The liquids with the highest density floated at the top of the bottle. (F)
8. _____ The correct metric unit for density of a liquid is grams/milliliter. (T)
9. _____ The weight of an object and its mass are always the same. (F)
10. _____ The air at higher elevation is the same as the air at sea level. (F)
11. _____ When designing a hot air balloon, the mass of the balloon must also
include the weight of the air inside the balloon. (T)
12. _____ The densities of pure water, salt water and sugar water are always the same. (F)
Answer each question using complete sentences.
7. Describe at least two ways to calculate the density of an object.
Measuring the mass using a scale or beam balance and measuring the volume by
measuring the length, width, and height of a regularly-shaped object.
Measuring the mass using a scale or beam balance and measuring the volume by
seeing how much water is displaced when the object is put in a graduated
cylinder.
8. Give an example of three objects that are close to the same size but very different in
density.
Pool ball, ping pong ball, and bouncy ball or cubes from lesson one…or their own
example.
9. Explain why the liquids in the salad dressing bottle settled back into the same order after
they were shaken up.
One liquid is less dense than another and so it floats on top. The liquids are
immiscible and do not mix.
10. Explain why pumice floats while a rock of similar size will sink in the same tank of
water.
Pumice floats because the holes formed by the gas bubbles escaping provide
space for air pockets so that the overall density of the rock is less than that of
water.
11. Explain why it is easier for a person to float while swimming in the Great Salt Lake than
it is at Lake Tahoe.
A person can float easier in the Great Salt Lake than in Lake Tahoe because the
water in the Great Salt Lake is denser so it can hold up the same person better.
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12. Explain how the property of density allows water to be recycled through the water cycle.
When water evaporates, the water vapor is less dense than the surrounding air and
rises. After the water condenses and forms clouds, the water droplets become denser
than the surrounding air and fall as precipitation.
Scenario: Your class is placed in charge of designing a hot air balloon to fly in the Balloon
Races next fall. List, draw, or describe all of the things you would have to take into
consideration. What information would you need to collect about what materials to use, what
shape the balloon should be, and how big it could be? What other factors would you want to get
more information about?
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Interview Protocol
1. How would you define density?
2. Give an example of how density affects you in real life, or how you see it at
work in the real world.
3. How do we measure mass?
4. Explain why a hot air balloon floats.
5. Using the concept of density, explain why it is important to shake up your
Italian salad dressing.
6. Pretend you go on a camping trip and open your cooler to find that all of the
labels have come off of your soda bottles. Without opening the bottles to taste
them, how can you tell which ones are diet and which ones are regular?
7. What is the relationship between mass, volume and density?
8. Which learning activity most helped you understand the concept of density?
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Appendix 1: Explanation of the Simulation
Here is an explanation of what the simulation actually calculates and the formulas to back up the
work.
1. The user enters the local elevation in meters. That value is part of a calculation to determine
the density of air at any given location. This density value will become the target density for the
balloon design configuration.
Air Density (D) = 1.226 – (1.194 x 10-4)*elevation
2. The user may choose one each of the following design options.
Shape
Sphere
Rectangular Prism
Pyramid
Size
S
M
L
XL
Material
Tissue Paper
Garbage Bag
Newsprint
Newspaper
3. The simulation will calculate the volume of the balloon based on provided dimensions and
formulas.
Volume of a Sphere: 4/3 Π r 2
Surface Area: 4 Π r 2
Dimensions of Given Spheres:
S:
r = 5 cm
M:
r = 10 cm
L:
r = 15 cm
XL: r = 20 cm
Volume of a Rectangular Prism: L x W x H
Surface Area: 2(LW + LH + WH)
Dimensions of Given Rectangular Prisms:
S:
10 cm x 10 cm x 15 cm
M:
15 cm x 15 cm x 20 cm
L:
20 cm x 20 cm x 25 cm
XL: 20 cm x 20 cm x 30 cm
Volume of a Pyramid: ⅓b2h where h is the height of the center of the pyramid.
Surface Area of a Pyramid: b2 + 2bh where height is the height of the side of the pyramid
S:
M:
L:
XL:
Base
7 cm
10 cm
15 cm
20 cm
Height
24 cm
24 cm
20 cm
30 cm
Side Height
25 cm
26 cm
25 cm
36 cm
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3. Next the simulation should calculate the mass of the material used to make the balloon by
multiplying the surface area of the balloon by the factors for each of the materials. The
spreadsheet converts these to gms/cm3 by dividing by 100 so that the units agree with the volume
calculations.
Tissue paper:
Garbage bag:
Newsprint:
Polyester
Newspaper:
Cotton
Brown grocery bag:
8 gms/m3
16 gms/m3
32 gms/m3
32 gms/m3
48 gms/m3
80 gms/m3
128 gms/m3
4. After the simulation calculates the volume of the balloon, then that volume of air is multiplied
by the density determined based on elevation and then by 0.93 as the heating will reduce the
density by 7%. This value is the mass of the air inside the balloon.
5. The mass of the material and the mass of the air make up the total mass of the balloon.
6. The total mass divided by the volume give the density of the balloon design configuration,
with the affect of the heat source taken into consideration as the density of the air inside the
balloon was reduced by 7%. If the balloon density is less than the air density at that elevation, in
theory, the balloon should float.
40
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